Typhoon “Tisoy,” perhaps the strongest storm to hit the country this year, shuttered government operations in the capital region yesterday including the country’s primary international airport which was closed down for 12 hours.
All branches of government — the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, separately declared suspension of work before noon time yesterday as “Tisoy” started to be felt in Metro Manila after pounding on Bicol Region and Southern Luzon since late Monday night — toppling power and communication lines.
The work stoppage was meant to ensure public safety and part of the pro-active measures taken by the national government.
In Memorandum Circular 73, issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), work in government offices and classes in schools, both public and private at all levels in Metro Manila, have been suspended effective 12 noon Tuesday.
However, agencies involved in the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness and response to disasters and calamities, and/or the performance of other vital services continued with their operations to ensure prompt government action, if necessary.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, in a memorandum, also ordered the suspension of work on all courts in the National Capital Region due to typhoon “Tisoy.”
On the part of the Legislative Branch, the House of Representatives called off work and plenary session.
The Senate has no scheduled session on Tuesday due to the ongoing bicameral conference committee deliberations on the proposed 2020 national budget.
As a pre-cautionary measure, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) suspended operations in all terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said the shut down was part of the efforts to prevent any damage from “Tisoy.”
Once flight operations resume, Monreal said that priority will be given to scheduled flights while recovery flights will be accommodated on a “first come, first serve” basis.
The government’s pro-active efforts seemed to have paid off as initial reports coming from Bicol Region showed that there was a lone death as of noon time Tuesday. Although the damage could be heavy.
Director Claudio Yucot, of the Office of Civil Defense-Region 5, said that Marco Paulo Orsowa, 33, died while fixing the roof of his house in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
Yucot reported damages to power and communications facilities in Bicol Region.
Since Friday, preemptive evacuation had been conducted in areas along the path of “Tisoy”, particularly in the provinces of Sorsogon and Albay.
The typhoon made its landfall on Gubat town in Sorsogon.
In a broadcast interview, Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero said that while “Tisoy” battered his province, there was not a single casualty.
Escudero said that “Tisoy’s” wrath toppled power lines and trees along the national highway.
“So far, as of 9 a.m., we have no reported casualty. Hopefully, it will remain as that,” said Escudero, citing the preemptive evacuation he ordered.
Albay counts damage
In Albay, Gov. Francis Bitchara said that damage was reported at the navigational facilities and the ceiling of Legazpi City Airport.
Bitchara said that several residential structures were also damaged.
He stressed that prior to the havoc wreaked by the typhoon, the provincial government already ordered mandatory evacuation of 49,000 families, composed of 180,000 individuals, living along the danger zones in Albay.
The NDRRMC, in its 8 a.m. bulleting, said that more than 200,000 people have been preemptively evacuated in Regions V, VIII, CALABARZON and MIMAROPA.
The NDRRMC recorded a total of 225,678 individuals or 57,918 families evacuated in the said regions.
It added that a total of 22 houses have been damaged in Region V and CAR. Of that number, 13 houses were totally damaged while nine others were partially damaged.
There is no report yet on damaged roads and bridges as well as other establishments, according to the NDRRMC.
The council, which maintains its blue alert status to monitor Tisoy’s development, added that seven transmission lines in Luzon and Visayas have been affected by the typhoon.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi also placed the Task Force on Energy Resiliency on full alert status since Monday to ensure prompt action in the aftermath of “Tisoy.”
Cusi placed on hands of the energy family, including those in the private sector, on deck for proper action from maintenance to restoration of power lines.
The Department of Energy-Oil Industry Management Bureau also conducted a fuel oil reserve inventory in Regions IV-A and IV-B to ensure there is enough supply.
With Kristina Maralit, Anthony Ching, Hananeel Bordey and Keith Calayag